2010 Scholars

Cassie Gianni

Cassie Gianni

The John D. and Susan K. Thompson Family UH Tier One Scholarship Endowment

Classification: Senior
Graduation Year: 2015
College: College of Liberal Arts and Social Science and Honors College
Major: Economics
Minors: Spanish; Phronesis: Ethics & Politics
High School: Bellaire Senior High School
Hometown: Houston, TX

Spotlight: Summer Abroad in Colombia

About Me

Outside of classes and extracurricular activities, you'll catch me long-boarding around campus, relaxing at local parks, writing poetry or personal reflections, enjoying a movie and game night with friends, exploring the cultural cuisine of Houston or hanging out with my family and pets.

Also, nothing like a classic list of favorites!

  • Colors: Blue & Green (they remind me of nature's beauty and calm)
  • Foods: Hummus, Broccoli, Green Apples, Peanut Butter, Burritos, Milk Tea
  • Movies: When Harry Met Sally, I Am Sam, The Matrix
  • Board & Card Games: Spades, Backgammon, Cribbage, Chinese Checkers
  • Music: The Weepies, Tegan and Sara, Backstreet Boys, Copeland, Ingrid Michaelson 

Campus and Community Involvement

On campus, I have shared my pride as an energized fan at sporting events and as an Honors College Ambassador recruiting prospective students and mentoring current ones. With the goal of educating and communicating with as many people as possible, I have also worked as an Honors College Writing Tutor for underclassmen, as a Language and Culture Center Cultural Connections Guide for international students hoping to improve their understanding of American culture, as an Undergraduate Assistant for the Bauer International Business Journal, as a DJ for Coog Radio to express the artistic and activist voice of the student body and as a speaker for the university's LGBT Resource Center to raise awareness. Off campus, I have expanded my economic and political understanding of Houston as an intern for the City Controller while also serving underdeveloped communities throughout the city with organizations such as the Partnership for the Advancement and Immersion of Refugees, which provides American culture and English language lessons to young recently arrived refugee students, and the UH Microfinance program, which empowers poor community members to become small business owners by providing education about finance and entrepreneurship.

Focusing on the global community, I have worked three years for AIESEC, the largest international student-run organization in the world. As an organization, AIESEC's mission is to achieve peace and fulfillment of humankind’s potential by engaging every young person in the world through leadership platforms and cultural exchange. I have served in many capacities, including Local Committee President of AIESEC Houston and Regional Chair of AIESEC in Texas and Louisiana, creating opportunities and facilitating experiences for other students to work abroad and develop into socially responsible and entrepreneurial leaders.

 Awards and Honors
  • University of Houston Tier One Scholar 
  • Phi Beta Deta Honor Society for International Scholars
  • Charles B. Rangel Scholar
  • Chinese Government Scholar
  • Phronesis Fellow

Study Abroad

During the summer of 2011, I volunteered as an English teacher and leadership workshop coordinator, primarily for young women, in Santa Marta, Colombia. While volunteering, I also traveled around the country to expand my understanding of the culture and language.

The next summer, I participated in the U.S. Department of State Rangel Summer Enrichment Program at Howard University in Washington D.C. I studied economics, foreign policy and professional writing, while conducting site visits to entities such as the State Department, CIA, USAID, Peace Institute and Brookings Institute and networking with professionals in international careers such as Ambassadors, NGO leaders, and journalists.

That fall, I enrolled in a Bauer Business School program called Sales for Social Impact, in which three other peers and I dedicated the semester to intense research, networking, and sales plan design, in order to sell and distribute an innovative solar powered lantern to energy impoverished Peruvians. At the end of the semester, we won national recognition at 3M and traveled to Peru to implement our plan in the heart of the Amazon jungle, working with regional and local governments, U.S. officials, NGOs, microfinance institutes, female entrepreneurs, and indigenous communities.

For the spring of 2013, I studied abroad in Beijing, China for intensive Mandarin language learning. Beyond my studies, I also taught English, mentored children, showcased U.S. culture with the U.S. Embassy and local universities, coordinated the exchange of U.S. students to work in China, and volunteered with the local LGBT center. I also traveled to Hong Kong to train other students about social business.

Beyond these more long-term experiences, I have also attended youth-oriented exchange and leadership conferences in Colombia, Morocco, Belgium China and Singapore.

As I embrace more opportunities immersed in diversity, my goal is always to develop myself and our global community as much as possible!

Research

Throughout my academic career at University of Houston, I have explored a diverse range of topics for course research, including balancing the Houston city budget, the influence of Hispanics in U.S. politics, the development of LGBT-centric film, alternative energy and business development in Peru, American political tradition, and genocide in Guatemala. In the upcoming semesters, I hope to develop a more in-depth research project about the dynamics of defense, development and diplomacy of the U.S. government.   

Future Endeavors

After completing my undergraduate degree at University of Houston, I plan to explore short-term but high-impact programs such as Peace Corps, Teach for America and Fulbright. In the long-run, my career goal is to serve as a diplomat for the U.S. Department of State, improving our world through international partnerships.